Overdue maintenance could lead to traffic disaster: study
Overdue maintenance on bridges and tunnels can lead to a traffic disaster on the Dutch road network, according to a study by engineering firm Sweco on behalf of Bouwend Nederland. Traffic organizations ANWB and TLN call on parliamentarians to intervene. "The flow to the periphery is seriously impeded; cities can become unreachable", the groups wrote in a letter to the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, AD reports.
Sweco investigated the consequences of an unexpected closure of three important bridges. The researches concluded that this could result in economic damages between 400 thousand euros and 4.8 million euros per working day, depending on the scenario. Bouwend Nederland called the results "shocking".
ANWB and TLN agree. According to them, the "overdue maintenance" on bridges, locks and tunnels is rapidly growing. This increases the risk of failure, "resulting in a traffic infarction", they wrote in their letter to the Kamer. The unexpected closure of, for example, the Moerdijk Bridge, Ketel Bridge and Haringvliet Bridge can cut the Dutch hinterland off from large Dutch cities.
According to Maxime Verhagen, chairman of Bouwend Nederland, politicians are doing too little to prevent traffic problems. "The Minister is again not making sufficient use of the upcoming calm-traffic period to tackle delayed maintenance to minimize damage and nuisance to road users", he said to the newspaper. "That is unnecessary and needs to be improved. The question is not whether but when highways will be closed unexpectedly, with all the consequences that entails for road users. The time of good intentions has passed, as far as I am concerned."
Verhagen calls for a "clear and fast agenda" for maintenance work. This will limit the cost and inconvenience to road users as much as possible. Bouwend Nederland, TLN and ANWB want to meet with Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen of Infrastructure and Water Management to discuss this.